Thursday, September 29, 2011

welcome to creeping 101.. i'm your teacher, facebook!

so along with 99.9% of facebook users, i HATE the new update, and i hate that they plan on making even more changes soon. the ticker popped up on my profile earlier in the month. i complained about it in a status, and then, quite thankfully, it disappeared. of course it came back earlier this week, along with all the new changes. if you don't have facebook, or haven't been on to see the changes, the ticker is an up-to-the-minute update of EVERYTHING going on on facebook... as it happens...  i can see what friends like what as soon as they 'like' it, when they post on anything (even on people that i'm not friends with, due to their privacy settings), and everything else you used to have to do work to be able to see. now, i admit... i've been known to creep around on facebook quite frequently... what can i say, i get bored. but this is taking it to a whole new level. now everyone is expected to creep on everything. i've been meaning to do a post about facebook privacy settings for awhile, and now that everything has changed on there, i'll have to do things a little differently than previously anticipated, and while i would like to just sit here and bash facebook, i won't. i'll make this an actual 'learn something' post, and while i mainly am going to talk about facebook settings, this really applies to every profile/account you have online. and parents, i really suggest going through your children's privacy settings (either with or without them) to ensure they're being safe online, too.

now, lets start with the basic things you need to check out. if you don't know, there are privacy settings on facebook that you should check out. i tend to even check my settings out every couple of weeks, because facebook is constantly adding new settings, and often times, you have to lock your stuff down yourself, rather than facebook just doing it by default and then you having to open your stuff up to the public if you wanted. the latter sounds like the more reasonable option, no? but facebook isn't reasonable, so let's just continue. now granted, with the new updates, it gives you more control from the spot, it also shows who has their stuff locked up, and who has it spread about like glitter after a craft day. to check your overall settings, click on the arrow in the upper right corner of the page, and go to privacy settings. from there you can see the settings you have, and have the option to change them. i highly recommend setting your stuff to friends only, merely because you can't always trust the friends of your friends. i used to have a few things, such as a few certain picture folders and some videos set to "friends of friends" only because i wanted the friends of the people that were in them to see the stuff they were tagged in. i no longer need to do that though, because facebook has enabled an option for me to allow the friends of my  friends to see only the tagged photos their in. totally works for me, and means i don't have to mess with as many settings anymore. yay!

you will, however, want to check out the settings for everything else. i shouldn't have to explain how important it is to keep some of your personal information private. and remember, just because facebook gives you the option to insert certain information, it doesn't mean you have to! just say no people... just say no. you don't need to have your home address visible to everyone! not even to all of your friends. do you really want the kid you used to sit next to in second grade or the guy you met at the bar last week to know exactly where you live!? that's a straight shot to getting a stalker right there. same goes for your phone number. if you put your phone number visible to everyone on facebook, or even just to all of your friends, don't go complaining when you get drunk dialed by someone at 3am. you made it public!!! 'but laaaaaaayne. what if my friends need it!? what if they lose their phone, or forget where i live!?!?!!' well here's a simple solution. instead of making it available to all your friends, just pick who you want to be able to see it! this isn't a new feature, and i've used it since i put my phone on there so i could receive text updates. i only share it with people that A) already have it or B) i don't mind having it. if you want to receive your text updates but don't want anyone to see your number, there's an option to just have it visible to only me. that setting applies to anything on your profile. i'll explain how to do that a little later.

so while you're in your privacy settings, i recommend going through each option and making sure it's set to how you want it. you might be surprised by the stuff you've been accidentally sharing with everyone. check every setting! again, i recommend having most, if not all of your stuff set to friends only. i'm not going to walk you through each setting, because i'm sure you smart people can figure things out. i just wanted to point out that it is there and that you can change things!

once you're done checking out your privacy settings, you should check out your account settings. click on the arrow in the upper right corner again, and then click on your account settings. there again, you will be able to see info and settings and change them. what i want you to check out most is the security tab and the facebook ads tab that are located on the left hand side of the screen. in the security tab, i recommend enabling secure browsing. this will make your facebook browsing an https site, which if you remember from an earlier post means the website is secure. your information is encrypted so 'the malicious one's' can't get your info remotely. https=good! now if you use a lot of applications on facebook, this setting will be turned off every time you go to an app and won't be turned back on until you either manually go back and turn it back on once you're done using your app, or it will come back on automatically the next time you log in. if you're like me and don't really use facebook apps, this should be no problem. if you do though, you may want to make it a habit of logging off and then back on when you're done with your apps. if you feel like that's too much of a pain, don't say i didn't warn you!!

the next thing i'd like for you to check out in your account settings is in the facebook ads tab. i like to disable everything in there because i feel like ads don't need to be viewing and sharing my personal stuff. of course, read the info there and decide for yourself.

before you leave the account settings page, give a look over everything and make the necessary changes from there. check all the tabs, and do what you gotta do.

ok.. now the next step is to go to your profile (your actual profile, not your homepage) and click on edit profile in the upper right corner. from there you can see how every bit of your information is shared. the icons on the right side of the page show who that particular piece of information is shared with. to change it, click on the icon and choose how you want to share it. remember, you can make custom lists to share it with only certain people, or not certain people, with certain lists, or not with certain lists or even, just yourself (in the case of address, phone numbers, etc). the choice is yours! you just have to make it and change it! go through all the tabs on the left side. again, i recommend choosing the friends setting for everything. again, it's up to you and i'm only here to inform you, not make you! so choose wisely my friends.

lastly, with the new changes came facebook's way of copying another social network. their new feature of being able to customize each post you share with certain groups on each individual post is a great idea, but too bad it's not their own. every time you post something new, you are given the option to share it with whomever you want, right there before you post it. i keep sounding like a broken record, but i advise you share with friends only, or with your already customized lists according to your post's subject.

now, while i just gave you all this information, i feel the need to point out the *hopefully* obvious. you should be acting as your own personal security screening. remember, you don't have to put everything about you on your profile or in your status. you DO need to be your own filter. just because we're given the option to connect and share everything, doesn't mean you should. privacy shouldn't be dead. chivalry shouldn't be dead. just because our world is changing, doesn't mean we should forget about the old one. you don't need to post every 5 minutes. you don't need to publicly bash someone. you don't need to share personal, and what should be private information. remember who could be reading what you're sharing. just because i don't talk to you, doesn't mean i don't look at what you post. keep in mind that if you decide to make everything public, then don't be surprised when it get's used against you or when info falls into the wrong hands. if you make it public, people will creep! i'll do it, and i won't feel bad because you were warned and should know better. censor yourself both with your settings and with your own personal judgement.

hopefully you already knew all the stuff in this post, and if not, i hope you learned something from it. with each new update facebook makes, be sure to check out your settings and learn how the new features work and what they share. oh, and if you want the original personalized sharing network, join google+ and find me :) only if i actually know you in real life though... cause i don't share with just anyone!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

"i'll never let go (dellbert)... i'll never let go"

do you remember what your first family computer was? i can mentally remember ours, but i don't remember the name of it. i think it was a neighbor's old macintosh that we bought off them. the monitor and "tower" were one piece, and it took huge floppy disks. i remember it not being able to do too much, but we thought it was awesome! eventually we got a gateway computer (it sooo came in the cow print boxes) and then at some point during my high school days, my parents bought a dell (yes, my mom and i made the ups guy say "dude, you're getting a dell"). i eventually bought my own dell in '07. when i bought my computer, i made sure i got a good one, and spent the extra money to make sure i'd have something that would last me awhile and be, in general, AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 and a half years later, my awesome computer is on the bottom of the mega awesome list. it still functions, it's clean (as in viruses... there is some dust of course), i have enough room to store a bunch of stuff, it has an "A" drive (who uses that anymore?!) but it's not worth anywhere near as much as i paid for it. but, that's how technology rolls. it moves at such a fast pace that soon after you buy something, a newer version will be there to take it's place in a matter of months (sometimes weeks it seems). so while your computer may work fine if technology never moved forward, the truth is, your old stuff just can't handle what the new stuff needs.

a real life example, shall we? remember that computer i said my parents bought back when i was in high school? that is still the computer they use every day. we named it dellbert back when they bought it... now keep in mind, i graduated in 2004.... and they bought it before my senior year.... it came with windows xp which was brand new at the time.... we still had dial needless to say, it's pretty old (for a computer). my parents have been saying for years that it takes forever to boot up and is so slow to run anything. they thought maybe there was a virus on it, or just too much junk that didn't need to be there, so while dan and i were up over christmas last year, he took a look at it. now, just like humans, over time, computers slow down. that's their nature. sure, other things help that along, but computers do tend to naturally "break down". viruses can slow your computer down, so can lack of ram and enough space on your hard drive. after waiting 10 minutes for the computer to be happily logged into windows and ready to "work", dan poked around to see what he could find. the result? nothing. no viruses, not much junk. it's just old. the problem isn't the computer so much, it's just technology has moved so far and updated so much over the last few years that good old dellbert just can't keep up. if they weren't going to hook the computer up to the internet and just use it for word documents and publisher, the computer would probably be fine. they could get rid of the anti virus programs, internet explorer, games, flash players, cookies, history, java, etc.... and just use programs that originally came with the computer. but then how would they keep up with my blog?!? ;)  in reality, it's just time to let dellbert go and move onto dellbert IV (my computer is aptly named dellbert jr, and my new laptop is dellbertIII).

think about how far technology has come. when computers were first invented, they took up an entire room! and they didn't have that much power. now we carry around little computers (in the form of our phones and ipods) that are like a thousand times more powerful, yet fit in our pockets! it's insane!!!! even our calculators are more advanced than the technology that got us to the moon!!!!! and on top of being more powerful, you can get more bang for your buck. a 1 gb flash drive (aka thumb drive) cost a lot a few years ago. i read somewhere that one guy paid $85 in 2004 for a 1 gb flash drive. today, you can get an 8gb for like 8.99. under $10!!!! craaazy! newegg sells up to a 128gb flash drive! a few of those and you have more storage than my laptop! see what i mean about more bang for your buck?!

so what's the point of this post you ask? well, to remind you that sometimes you need to upgrade your equipment or replace it altogether. there is no getting around it. as technology continues to advance, basic requirements advance too. in the case of my parents' computer, dan wasn't even able to download a program to be able to run a virus scan due to lack of space and ram. they wouldn't be able to put the windows 7 operating system on their computer, because even if they erased everything off their computer, the basic ram and hard drive wouldn't be able to run windows 7 alone, let alone with any other program loaded on there. even programs like microsoft office requires more room to run than the older versions.

something as simple as opening up a webpage will even slow an older computer down due to all the extra stuff that pops up. think of having a slow internet connection and trying to stream a video online, or open a page with a bunch of ads and pictures and a music player trying to load songs (i always remember myspace giving me trouble loading on a slower connection). a dial-up-like internet connection can't handle all that and it takes forever to load the smallest things. that is what your older computer goes through. so consider letting go and doing an upgrade. as i said in my last post, you can get new ram and memory put into an older computer to upgrade it, but sometimes it's just worth getting an all new setup with new versions of programs and newer operating systems that are better able to keep up with the ever changing advances. i did, and now i have a mega awesome computer again!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

you spent how much!?!?

a couple months ago my mom told me my aunt spent $250 to put more ram (the thing that determines how fast and efficient your computer can run by giving it more space to open programs so you can bounce back and forth between tasks quickly) into her computer. it sounded like a steep price to me, but i was blown away when dan told me actual ram costs about $16, and it's not too hard to install yourself. for a little more than $250 she could have practically just bought a new computer that would come with windows 7, and not look like it's from the early 2000's. now granted, messing around inside of a computer is scary, and i wouldn't recommend it if you don't know what you're doing (you can destroy components with static electricity from your body) but maybe someone you know knows how to do that stuff. instead of over paying some "professional" to insert ram for $250, maybe the neighbor kid who builds his own computers would be happy to do it for $20.

ram isn't the only thing that this advice applies to. memory (storage space) is another thing that can be upgraded if needed. you can also switch out the disc drives to upgrade your regular cd burner to a dvd or blue-ray burner, without having to buy a whole new computer! again, you do need to know what you're doing, but the options are out there. dan built his own (really large, powerful, beastly) computer by purchasing his computer components from neweggtiger direct. if you're in the need for some upgrades and plan on doing them yourself, i recommend checking out those sites.

of course i'm not trying to take away your computer repair guy completely, i'm just trying to save you some money on things you could be saving money on! instead of using him for things that you'd be getting over charged for, save him for the things you REALLY need him for. computer falls off your desk and you can't get it to work but you need to try to recover your data off it? take it to him. get a bunch of nasty viruses you can't get rid of? take it to him. have tried everything but you just can't get it to work? take it to him. just don't waste your money for new ram!